If you checked out the blog earlier this week, you may have seen my Nomad roundup – also seen here. As Nomad has evolved, so has the food scene!
A few years ago, I would have been unable to come up with 10 worthy restaurants of note in my beloved Madison Square Park/Flatiron area that I enjoyed enough to recommend to friends, family, and work colleagues.
Now, I offer a Part Two Nomad feature and find it hard to limit the combined list to 25: new gems are opening every week (can’t wait to try Italienne). Part One featured a cross-section of crowd pleasers, couples night out destinations, and the growing roster of Asian restaurants.
Part Two rounds out the review with 3 genres: Pizza/Pasta, Seafood/Rawbar, and Steakhouse.
Come hungry and tell ’em FO40 sent you!
La Pecora Bianca
Fresh, inventive, farm-to-table Italian cuisine is the approach of this 2015 neighborhood addition. Great pastas, and the hearty Toscano salad is a great starter.
1133 Broadway (@West 26th Street)
On a block suddenly alive with dark, cozy eateries, L’Ulivo offers an impressive variety of homemade pastas which pair seamlessly with a bianchi or rossi by the glass (or better yet, bottle) in this Italian trattoria.
4 West 28th Street (5th Avenue/Broadway)
Confirming that Danny Meyer can master and elevate any cuisine, Marta is the place for classic, crisp-crust pizza. Immediately discovered upon opening (justifiably), make a reservation well in advance, come at 5PM, or expect a lengthy wait. Deeply satisfying!
29 East 29th Street (Park Avenue South/Madison)
Tasty, fresh, and organic-dough pizza in the classic Neapolitan style. Also offers fresh pastas and salads. Another outpost in the new row of restaurants on West 28th.
2 West 28th Street (5th Avenue/Broadway)
Ultra-thin crust pizza is the draw at Tappo, separated-at-birth twin to Vezzo on Lexington and 31st. Grab a booth, order a Salsiccia Dolce (sausage and caramelized onions) or a Meatball Classic… better yet, one of each. if you’re hoping for late night leftovers, better order a 3rd pie as little goes uneaten of these crusty gems. Great for delivery as well.
49 West 24th Street (Broadway/6th Avenue)
Seafood / Rawbar
Self-described “old school/new school oyster bar”, L&W features a bounty of tasty nautical delights from raw to seared to fried. A rotating offering of up six types of oysters anchors the menu which also features updated riffs on chowder (Brooklyn Clam Chowder featuring Brooklyn lager), Mac & Cheese (with Lobster), and a BLT (also with Lobster). The accompanying libations list features a well constructed roster of brews, ciders, wines, champagnes, and sakes. The seating is a bit tight, but the make-your-own-phrase word games at each table is a nice diversion from the lack of elbow room.
254 Fifth Avenue (28th/29th Streets)
The John Dory Oyster Bar
Part of the ultra-hip Ace Hotel complex (aside- where do they get this perpetual crowd in their lobby lounge of Brooklyn–esque hipster sipping Stumptown coffee and writing business plans on Apple laptops??), The JDOB’s main attraction is the shellfish. An impressive array of oysters, clams, mussels, and crab center the menu. A few rounds of oysters and a cold, crisp Chablis are a must here.
1196 Broadway (@W. 29th Street)
The flagship of Wolfgang Zweiner’s post-Peter Luger meat emporiums, the ‘4 Park Avenue’ location is arguably the most iconic. Located in the former Vanderbilt Hotel dining room, the room features arched, tiled ceilings and creates a convivial vibe to this shrine to steak. The order is easy – Caesar salad and sizzling bacon to start; porterhouse for (the number of your party); creamed spinach, and your favorite potato presentation (steak fries for me). If you’re still standing after this alpha-male eating frenzy, which of course was paired with a strong Cabernet, land the plane with a sharing order of Apple Strudel with homemade “Schlag”. You must, and you’ll thank me later.
4 Park Avenue (@e. 31st Street)
This newcomer which opened in November 2016, follows the now formulaic steak house menu (Caesar?- check. Tomato and Onion?- check. Porterhouse for 2 or more?- check) but does so in a refined dining room setting. While no afternoon tea parlor, the setting was more upscale billiards room than the beer and darts which would easily be at home at Peter Luger. A satisfying meal and a clientele less than the 90% male crowd of other steak haunts make this a welcome addition to the area.
1184 Broadway (between W. 28th/29th)
Ben & Jack’s
A straight-forward player in the meat-and-cab genre, Ben & Jacks will capably satisfy your steak and hashbrowns craving. The bar serves a great burger, a nice option if you’re dining solo (and are too grown up to wait 30 minutes in the cold as Shake Shack perpetuates the myth of “made to order” whether 2 or 80 patrons are ahead of you). Ben & Jacks suffers no mission-drift and delivers as billed- a sizzling steak made to order every time.
255 Fifth Avenue (between E. 28th/29th)